It’s time to retire the adage, “Half your media is wasted. You just don’t know which half.”
Retail’s missing link has long been an inability to connect who saw what to who bought what. “Now, though,” says Charlie Chappell, The Hershey Company’s head of media and communications planning, “we’re at the point where data and technology are available on both the manufacturer and retail sides to do that mapping.”
Every second of every day, retailers, manufacturers and media partners are accumulating data. That data has real value, so the biggest retailers often seek to gain incremental revenue by monetizing access to it. But long term, that one-way street can lead to a dead end.
Enabling that data to reveal its truths will require new ways of thinking and fresh approaches to working together.
Working together can help to unlock higher levels of retail engagement
Doug Straton, Hershey’s chief digital commerce officer, is taking the long view. “By working together and sharing data with manufacturers, higher levels of retail engagement, category growth and, therefore, traffic and profitability are attainable.”
Doing so requires partnerships, which require a mutual understanding of the true value of exchanging the data – and of the data exchanged. That, in turn, requires trust, candor and deep conversations among many stake-holders about how to make partnerships thrive.
But relationships are complicated, right? And as the nature of retail evolves, things get stickier still.
More and more retailers are acting as publishers. Their media teams are approaching manufacturers about advertising. What they lose sight of, Chappell says, is “as advertisers, manufacturers have choices. The outside media environment is highly competitive. These media teams are not only competing against Facebook and Google, they are often competing against other media teams from other retailers.”
This is where communication is key.
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Obtaining a truer picture leads to a greater good
Straton recommends a joint business planning process between manufacturers and retailers, including all media teams and merchandise teams, in tandem with retail planning in its most traditional sense. “This way,” he says, “the retailer can better understand the overall holistic impact of the manufacturer’s investment. The key is to obtain a truer picture of how you can leverage the broader business for the greater good.”
Only then, he says, can both parties effectively marry the breadth of the retailer’s overall shopper knowledge and understanding with the depth of the manufacturer’s media and category knowledge to drive sales in the right way.
Hershey’s “holistic advisorship” can benefit retailers of all sizes
Hershey was recently named one of Morning Consult’s “Best Loved Brands in America 2019 and placed No. 3 in YouGov’s BrandIndex ranking of the top 10 healthiest brands in the United States. But where other big brands are complex, with representation across many categories, Hershey is a snacking powerhouse with a deeper understanding of where, how and why people are interacting with its brands.
Over the past decade, Hershey has taken its highly regarded category management and consultancy expertise and expanded it into digital media and digital commerce. Countless retailers have benefited from what Hershey refers to as its “holistic advisorship.”
Now, by combining data and insights, and leveraging Hershey’s holistic view of planning across physical and digital retail, media and marketing landscapes, both the retailer and the manufacturer benefit. Working together, partners can use data science and predictive analytics to transform data into actionable knowledge.
Says Chappell, “Hershey is continually striving to foster retail partnerships based a mutual sharing of data and a combined, intimate understanding of who our consumers are and how to best serve them, exactly how they want to be served.
“Success requires deep conversations about how to make that happen. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it for the size of the prize that can come out of it.”